As I met with residents of the 18th District over the past week, nearly all of them shared their concern about the recent increase in their property taxes. As a homeowner in the 18th, I appreciate their concern.  The fact that property taxes are going up at the same time our property values and incomes are dropping (or showing no signs of increasing in the near future) demonstrates the need to reform our tax system.
 
As State Representative, I will fight to reduce property taxes and shift to a fairer, income-based system that (1) replaces property taxes with income taxes as the primary funding source for Illinois schools; (2) creates a “lock-box” ensuring that legislators cannot raid school funding; (3) provides strong per-student foundational funding to all schools; (4) fully funds special education services; and (5) protects the ability of local communities to supplement state funding with locally raised revenue.
 
There’s been plenty of talk about reforming our tax system over the years. Now it’s time to translate that talk into action.

 As I continue to knock on doors across the 18th District, I’m constantly reminded of the need for progressive reform. While campaigning this last week I spoke with a family about their struggle to obtain services for their autistic child.  After being denied insurance coverage for his speech services they sought services through Chicago public schools, and again were denied.  As a result, the family has to pay out-of-pocket for expensive but needed therapies. Unfortunately, it’s a story that’s become far too common these days with state budgets under stress.

 Similarly, I also recently spoke with a family that spends $25,000 annually on health insurance.  A primary reason for this expense is that our government does not recognize the parents’ relationship or allow them to marry because they are both women.  As a result, their family is not eligible for “family” benefits that many other Illinois families are able to enjoy. 

 As Tuesday’s election returns remind us–we must work hard and rededicate ourselves to the fight for marriage equality.